Acquiring a private plane for use by the prime minister and president would cost between $40 million and $50 million, according to data the Finance Ministry's Budget Department gave to the Movement for Freedom of Information.
The Finance Ministry found it would take between 15 and 20 years to recoup the cost of the purchase, which would be equally divided by the Prime Minister's Office and the President's Residence.
A close look at the data shows that buying an Israeli "Air Force One" would cost $30 million to $40 million, and converting it to meet the needs of Israeli leaders would cost $10 million dollars. Insurance and security costs would total another $10 million and maintenance costs would total between $4.4 million and $5.7 million annually. There would likely also be other unplanned costs, such as for the leasing of alternative planes when the plane must undergo repairs.
Against the backdrop of criticism of the high cost of the overseas flights of the prime minister and president (which climbed to $7 million last year), the government established a public committee to examine the costs of buying a private plane.
Other alternatives examined included using a private company's plane; a long-term agreement with an airline; or maintaining the status quo. The first option was scrapped over security concerns, the second was possible only with El Al, which, the Finance Ministry said, demanded too high of a price. And so it seems the only option left on the table is purchasing a private jet.